Men-trends have burned up social media this year. From the man-bun to the hipster beard, the spotlight has turned on our menfolk. Top of the list? The dad bod. Far from being a fact of life, a dad-paunch and ‘office arms’ can be blitzed with some sweat and smarts, regardless of your job, lifestyle or family commitments.
We spoke to Rick Baxendell, Personal Trainer and founder of BOOM PT – and a real-life Commando – to talk training, man-style. With clients losing up to 10kgs in his 12-week program, Rick knows what it takes to blitz the dad bod.
Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in PNG until I was 13 and then moved to Wonga Beach in Far North QLD. I enlisted almost straight out of school, completed basic training, infantry school and was posted to Darwin and the 5/7th Battalion RAR Mechanised. I was lucky enough to deploy to East Timor at the beginning of the campaign for seven months and was involved in the Tampa crisis and border protection.
I looked for more of a challenge and decided to attempt “selection” into the Commandos. After more than nine months of intense training and courses I received my Green Beret! Whilst in the Commandos I deployed to the Pacific and the Middle East. I served in the military for almost six years. I consider myself very fortunate to have served my country and learned lifelong skills like professionalism, integrity, discipline and more.
I embarked on a fitness career because I like helping people, watching them grow with confidence in themselves and their body.
What are some of the best ways to combat the ‘dad bod’?
I think for most people with a ‘dad bod’, life just takes over. Work and family take a priority, our metabolism slows down, food choices become poor and we gain weight.
Firstly as we get older we need to watch what we put in our body. Some simple dietary changes will go a long way. Each main meal we should be aiming to have portions of protein, fats and carbs. A really easy way to measure this is look at your palm. You want a piece of protein the size of your palm. Next you want fats. Fats are so important in the diet and unfortunately society nowadays thinks fat is bad and needs to be dropped. You NEED fats in your body for so many reasons. A couple of main reasons are that they produce hormones, and that we should be using fats as an energy source instead of carbs/sugar. Make sure you have a ‘thumb’ sized portion of fats every meal which could be 1/4 of an avocado, 7-9 unsalted raw nuts or a teaspoon of olive oil. Lastly is the carbs . . . you need to cut out the sugars. Sugar is in everything from fruit to ice cream and drinks. By reducing the amount of sugar and high glycaemic carbs you have going in, you can start dropping kilos rapidly. Start changing your diet week by week and watch the kilos melt off!
I am a firm believer in building a little more muscle and performing HIIT (high intensity interval training) to help shred those unwanted areas. I think the sessions need to be varied enough so the body doesn’t adapt to what you’re doing and you need to push hard. You need to be training at least three times a week to see any significant change, in my opinion. However the more you can get moving the better. So if you’re training hard for one day and pull up sore, you can still head down to the beach and do a light walk. The more you can get moving the faster your results will come.
Recovery is something most people don’t think about but it is incredibly important. You could be participating in the best sessions, yet if you aren’t eating right and sleeping enough you just won’t recover. Your body won’t repair the damage that’s been done and results will be slow or won’t come at all.
Your sessions run for just half an hour. Why?
I like to use 30 minute HIIT sessions and find them extremely effective for fat loss. I ask clients to warm up before the session starts, we train very hard for 30 mins and you’re done. Fantastic for the time-poor parent or those with a busy schedule. Every session I do is different, I try to use functional movements to get the most muscles involved in the movement possible, leading to muscle growth and fat loss. I use Olympic and regular lifting techniques, bodyweight training and cardio. Either way 30 minutes is all you will need, I promise!
What are the three best exercises to blitz the dad bod?
The three best exercises I would recommend would have to be some of the biggest exercises:
- The deadlift because it works every muscle in the body from your feet up to your traps.
- Chin ups when done correctly engage all the muscles in the arms and back.
- The thruster. You start in a front squat position, keep the elbows high and drop down into a front squat. Power out of the position and use the muscles in your legs to assist in gaining momentum and pushing the bar up overhead to a military press or shoulder press. This uses all muscles in the body as well and can be done heavy with low reps or light with fast high reps.
The benefits of exercise are not just physical – what other improvements can dads expect from regular training?
There are so many benefits to exercise like having more strength and energy in everyday life. Having the energy to keep up with your kids or join a sports team and make new friends or rekindle old friendships. Once you start training you have further incentive to clean up your diet and this will give you better quality of life now and in the future. Training will help you sleep better at night because of the extra work you have done during the day. You will also feel a lot more alive after training. The release of endorphins will change your whole outlook for the day. One of the best remedies for depression and the ‘mid life crisis’ is exercise.
Men often think they know how to train themselves and can regain their physique by just ditching the weekend beer. Why do they need a trainer?
A good trainer has many years of training under their belt, has done numerous courses and has one clear focus with their training. If you are someone who has gone to the gym when you were younger with some mates, taught each other how to do exercises or even watched others to learn, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You will go to the gym, see little or no results and either get injured or frustrated and end up giving up. If you find yourself a good trainer with a structured program who can help you out with nutrition and keep you accountable then YOU WILL see results.
Check out our Rad Dads special September edition of haven for more dad love.